When we asked grant writers to share their biggest grant writing challenges with us, many of them gave the same response: time.
We know that writing grants is one of the many things you do. It’s usually captured in the “other duties as assigned” line in your job description. Which means that writing grants becomes one of many competing priorities. It can often feel like there is not enough time to write a grant, never mind write it well.
5 Time Saving Tips
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Many grant writers struggle with finding enough time to write grants.
Below are five tips to help you limit the amount of time you will need to spend on the grant writing process. While not all of these tips will save you time directly, they will make the writing process much easier. And when writing is easier, you save time.
#1 Create A Work Plan… And Stick To It
Work backwards from the deadline outlined in your grant calendar and determine how much time you have before you need to submit. Plan out the time required to review, edit, and revise before submission. When you know how much time you have left to write the proposal, break it down into sections. Decide when you will write section 1, section 2, etc. The idea here is to plan everything out in advance so you know exactly when you need to have each section completed.
This tip will save you time in the sense that creating a plan for your writing will keep you on track and keep that proposal from eating up too much of your time.
#2 Plan Out What You’re Going To Write
As you review the questions asked in the grant application, think about how you will answer these questions. Don’t start writing anything yet, but feel free to make some point form notes. In addition, make a list of any questions you may have that must be answered before you can begin to write.
If possible, set up a meeting with the funder. We’ve written before about how important it is and how valuable it can be to meet with the funder before you begin to write your proposal.
Take this meeting as an opportunity to learn if what you want to write about is what they’re looking for and have any of your questions answered. With this knowledge in mind, you should have exactly what you need to complete each section of the proposal.
#3 Gather Your Documents In Advance
There are a number of pieces of information every funder will ask for in a proposal. Rather than wasting time searching again and again for this material, or re-writing already existing content, keep a folder on your computer of all the information funders regularly ask for.
First of all, having this information readily available in one location will save you from figuring out where to get the information you need or having to ask others to get it for you. Second, while you wouldn’t want to recycle an entire proposal completely, reusing those pieces that never or rarely change will keep you from having to re-write content that doesn’t need to be re-written.
Curious about what those pieces of information every funder asks for are? Download our checklist here.
#4 Keep A Notebook For Ideas
I’ve read that many authors keep a notebook strictly for ideas for the book they’re currently working on and separate notebooks for ideas for other books. When they’re out and about and something pops into their minds, they write it down. The same is useful for a grant writer.
Keep a notebook on you at all times for ideas you could incorporate into your proposals. When a co-worker cites an alarming statistic that your program is aiming to address, write it down. When a participant of your program approaches you and tells you how the program has impacted their life, write it down. When your program receives an award or some other recognition for your work, write it down. You may not use every idea, but collecting them will help you tell your story to the funder.
#5 Know What You Need To Do To Write Well
I know I do my best writing in the mornings, in un-interrupted silence. I used to listen to soft, instrumental music while I wrote, but have learned that doesn’t work best for me anymore.
Figure out what you need to do your best writing and do it. Communicate it to others. Tell your co-workers you are going to be writing and that you can’t be interrupted for the next few hours. Find a place that inspires you and makes you feel creative. Pour a cup of tea. Do whatever you need to do to make sure you are focused and are able to produce your best work. By creating an environment where you can concentrate, you can ensure you spend more time writing and less time responding to distractions.
Start Implementing These Tips Today
We know grant writing can be difficult, but we’re here to help make it a little easier. Start implementing these tips today to set yourself up for success the next time you’re preparing to write a grant. Spending less time writing grants means spending more time doing the other work you really love to do!
Don’t forget to download our checklist of documents every funder wants to see in your submission. Keeping these documents in one easy to access location will save you a ton of time in your grant writing process. Provide your name and email below to download the checklist. It’s FREE and your email is safe with us.
Common Documents Checklist
Don’t forget to download our checklist of documents every funder wants to see in your submission. Keeping these documents in one easy to access location will save you a ton of time in your grant writing process.
Provide your name and email below to download the checklist. It’s FREE and your email is safe with us.